How to Become an Egotistical Monster in 7 Steps or Less!
1. Become Ravenous for Online Attention. Base your mood on whether or not someone liked, commented, or championed something you wrote (or that you found and appropriated as your own). Question everything about yourself if you do not receive the stamp of approval you desperately seek.
2. Assume that Other People’s Emotions or Actions Have to Do Entirely with You. Ignore the fact that others might be caught up in their own lives and that could seep into their exchanges with you. Treat a negative conversation as an excuse to start feeling sorry for yourself indefinitely.
3. Steer All Conversations Back Towards You. You’ve got the most interesting life anyways, right? Act surprised when others are suddenly disinterested in a person who takes no interest in getting to know them.
4. Spend All of Your Time Patting Your Back Over Past Successes. Get comfortable with the idea that you’ve already grown as much as a human being can grow. Rest on those laurels now.
5. See Everyone as a Competitor. Get angry if someone else receives a gift or an opportunity that you have been coveting. Convince yourself you deserved it more and find no possible way to feel happy for that person, let alone inspired by them.
6. Forget that Someone Else May Know More Than You. Be ashamed to ask for help and assume that you can outsmart anyone in a room. Flaunt this God-like intelligence and try to constantly catch others in their folly. That’ll show ‘em.
7. Practice those Do, Re, MeMeMeMeMeMe’s. Sing the song of your own brilliance, hog the mic and never let the spotlight hit anyone else. Barely notice when your world starts shrinking to include just a faint glow around yourself.
We do it everyday. Something less than great happens, we react. And perhaps we feel guilty, upset, sad for having thoughts that are not helpful to us.
We want happiness, wrapped up and ready to go. But that is a gift that is earned. One that you cannot beg or plead with another to give to you. They won’t have it because you’re already holding onto it. The hint is to notice that it is currently in your hands. And in the style of gift-giving, when someone gives you something, you accept the gift graciously, regardless of the fact that the size was wrong, it was not what you expected, or the gift is something you are pretty sure your friend would enjoy a whole lot more than you would.
Same rules apply for the emotional quality of our days. If we receive a package full of terrible one day, the instinct is to sulk, or complain, or harbor on the fact that “this wasn’t what I wanted.” But just think if you threw a tantrum every time someone tried to give you something. Chances are, they will be reluctant to try to give you another gift in the future. (And the little one that gives macaroni necklaces eventually becomes an expert gift-giver with time. Imagine squashing the homemade gift in front of the person who presented it to you.)
But if instead, you offer a simple thank you, it becomes possible to recognize your emotional reaction, without qualifying it as good, bad, or otherwise, and see the inherent gift within the somewhat haggard packaging. The beauty of vulnerability, the brilliance of despair: these are the springboards to knowing yourself better. Why deny yourself the thoughts and emotions that are entirely your own?
Here’s to learning to accept the emotional gifts that we would sometimes prefer to return. And to becoming a better gift-giver and receiver in the process.